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Sep01

Create An Inspiration-Space To Boost Productivity

That Is The Question

Open-Plan Office Design Latest Research

When designing an office space, you’re looking to maximise three elements: professionalism, productivity and personal contentment of your staff. There’s been a tendency in design circles to focus on the strictly physical aspects of achieving those three goals, but a new piece on the Wired website by Tim Hulse suggests creating the right work environment goes far beyond desk space and noise floors.

 

Rather than defining productivity in terms of reducing the cost-per-square-metre of office space, he suggests there’s a shift in thinking underway, towards the office as an inspiration-space, a place that people use not just for working, but for learning, play, connecting with others – in other words, an integrated part of their life.

Spatial Balance

To take advantage of this kind of thinking – and so boost the productivity and personal contentment of your staff – you’re going to need to deliver the spatial balance between high-intensity huddles and more quiet spaces that allow people to focus as individuals or smaller teams. A variety of spaces within your office build is also likely to encourage people to get up and move around, refreshing their minds, and stretching their legs in the process.

Airs And Graces

This might seem like part of the nitty gritty, rather than the overall office design concept, but do not skimp on your air-con and ventilation system. People are in the office for many hours a day. If you want them to stick around, and to acclimatize themselves to being in that space, you’ve got to get the air right. And if that sounds – ahem – airy-fairy, bear in mind the results of a US test, where a company doubled the capacity of its ventilation (at a cost of roughly £15-30 per employee per year), and gained a productivity impact of £5,000 per employee per year. Seriously, let your people breathe free and they’ll pay you back in productivity.

Go Natural

We’ve known for some time that greenery – living, photosynthesizing greenery – in an office can help both with the air quality and also with the state of mind of office workers. Something in the brain suggests that if you can see greenery or nature, you’re a freer spirit than, for instance, cubicle or open-plan office living might otherwise suggest. So go green. If you can possibly provide a view of nature, and natural light, that’ll help too, breaking down the mindset of work and the work environment as a source of obligation and drudgery, and inspiring creative and productive thinking in your staff.

To build the most productive, professional office for your bottom line and your staff, of course, will depend on personalization to your specific needs for the business and your workforce – but get these basics right and you could dramatically improve your bottom line, and your staff retention and motivation, meaning everybody wins, from your staff to your business to your clients.

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